THE MARFA LIGHTS
THE ENIGMA LIGHTS OF MARFA
AN UNEXPLAINED PHENOMENON
BY ELWOOD WRIGHT AND PAT KENNEY
March 14-June 16, 1973
Submitted by Dale Kaczmarek
Wednesday, March 14:
Elwood Wright and his two sons went to the airport entrance nine (9) miles east of Marfa, Texas, on the Alpine Highway at approximately 9:00 p.m. and remained at this location until about 10:30. They observed one light to the south which "looks like a ranch light but blinks like a star". This light did not move or increase in intensity. They also observed three (3) lights in the direction of the Chinati Mountains. These three lights varied in intensity and turned on and off and appeared to be at a great distance, many miles away.
One of the lights appeared to be south of the Chinati Mountains, one appeared to be north, and one appeared to be in the Mountains. On returning to Marfa, they observed a light when they were approximately seven (7) miles east of Marfa. This light appeared to be approximately one (1) mile south of the highway and about the size of a bushel basket at this distance. The intensity was about the same as that of a car headlight on bright. It turned on and off and Mr. Wright had the impression that it might be a reflector of some nature activated by the observatory.
Thursday, March 15:
Mr. Wright and two sons and Pat Kenney went to the air base entrance at approximately 9:00 p.m. They observed a light to the south and Kenney had the impression that this was a ranch light about twenty (20) miles away. After waiting at the airbase entrance for 30-45 minutes, three (3) brighter lights came on in the direction of the Chinatis'. One of the lights appeared to move closer to another light and changed elevation. They all three appeared to be at a great distance and the intensity changed and they turned on and off. At approximately 10:30 p.m., the observers went back to Marfa but the lights were still on.
Sunday, March 18:
Wright and Kenney went to the air base entrance during the afternoon, set up surveying equipment (plane table and alidads), and shot in bearings on various peaks in the Chinati Mountains. Elevations were also read to the top of Chinati Peak and the horizon. On this same day they returned to the plane table station at 8:30 p.m. and the lights were coming on and off at that time. They attempted to take bearings on the lights, but this was unsucessful because the lights kept moving. They were able to determine, however, that all of the lights they observed were below the horizon. The lights did not look any different through the telescope (12 power) than with the naked eye. They were confused because as many as twelve (12) lights at once were visible in the direction of the Chinatis'. They stretched out from the south of the Chinatis' to north of them. One light to the north of the Chinatis' was more persistent than the others. It stayed at approximately the same bearing and they suspected that it might be a car coming down from the edge of the Tierra Vieja Rim. They became so confused that they finally went back to Marfa about 10:30 with the feeling that possibly all of the lights were car lights, but they knew very well that there were no roads where most of the lights appeared to be.
Monday, March 19:
Wright and Kenney went to the air base entrance at approximately 8:30 to try to determine if what they had seen the night before were car lights. They only stayed fifteen to twenty minutes because this was long enough to convince them that they were not car lights, at least not all of them.
They observed three (3) lights moving rapidly in all directions, but still in the direction of the Chinati Mountains. The lights still appeared to be at a great distance. One of the lights began swinging in an arc, like a rocker on a rocking chair. Another did a complete loop and approached the rocking light. They appeared to be playing.
Tuesday, March 20:
Approximately 9:00 p.m., Wright and Kenney went to the air base gate and observed at least three lights in the direction of the Chinati Mountains. After a few minutes they decided to try to get closer to the lights. They still thought they were many miles away. They went back down the highway approximately three miles toward Marfa and turned south on the Nopal Ranch Road. They went south approximately four miles and did not see any lights. They felt that the reason was that some low rolling hills out in the flat were blocking their vision toward the Chinati Mountains. They turned around and headed back toward the highway looking for a high spot on the road. It was a fairly moonlit night and they could see the road without headlights so they left them off. They drove back toward the highway until they were about one and one-half (1 1/2) miles south of the highway. They stopped at a high place on the road, turned off the engine and waited. Three horses, about 200 feet west of the car suddenly started running and acting in a wild manner. At this precise moment, they observed two lights moving rapidly from the southwest to the northeast, almost at right angles to the road. The first light slowed down near the road, crossed the road less than 1000 feet in front of their car, and continued to the east where it seemed to merge with or meet a third light which was brighter and was between their car and the vicinity of the old air base hanger. It crossed the road only three or four feet off the ground. The second light coming from the southwest followed approximately the same path as the first light but it seemed to be moving slower. They decided to try to sneak up on it in the car with the lights out, and try to intercept it at the same place where the first light had crossed the road, but they could not get close to it. They could tell they were within 500-700 feet of it but it started veering to the north and when they got to the point where the first light had crossed the road, the second light was several hundred feet on down the road. They could tell how far away it was because it was only about three feet off the ground and it went behind some bushes and in front of other bushes. They could have measured the distance with a surveyors chain. The second light was not more than 200 feet from them when it crossed the road. They stopped the car and turned off the engine as it come to the edge of the road. It moved out to the middle of the road and hovered there. They both had the distinct impression that it knew exactly where they were and that it was just daring them to chase it. The intensity of the light decreased as it slowed down and hovered in one spot. The color was approximately the same as an ordinary incandescent household light bulb. It seemed to possess intelligence! They did not move and after approximately one-half minute it moved on to the east to join the other lights, then they all vanished. The light they observed closest appeared to be about half the size of a basketball.
Note: On the night of March 15, Wright and Kenney and Wright's two sons observed that the horizon seemed to "light up" at short intervals. This was not observed on the next three observation nights. On the night of March 15 at approximately 9:00-10:00 p.m., this "lighting up" effect was observed toward the west, south and all points in between toward the southwest. The zone above the horizon, up to approximately 2 degrees elevation, would light up for one to three seconds duration. This happened repeatedly. There was no lightning, overcast sky, or any other apparent reason for this lighting effect. This is something to look for during future observations.
June 15 & 16, 1973:
Don and Carolyn Reed, Pat Keeney and Charlotte Rhodes went to the old air base Friday night and observed lights to the southwest which might have been cars but the number of lights observed was unusual. There are not normally many cars going north from Presidio at night. On Saturday night, the same people went back to the old air base and watched in the same direction as the night before. There were only three or four lights observed over a period of one hour. These lights were probably car lights on the hill 22 miles south of Marfa, on the Presidio Highway, near the roadside park. A daylight trip was made south of Marfa on the Presidio Highway to determine from what points along the road car lights could be seen from the old air base. The car lights could not be seen if the car was between Marfa and the intersection of Ranch Road #169. About 4.2 miles south of this intersection, there is a place where car lights might possibly be seen. At 5.0 miles south, possilby, at 6.0 miles, briefly, for the next two miles south to 8.0 miles south of the intersection, no possible vision. At 9.3 miles south of ranch road intersection there is a high hill south of the roadside park where view of the old air base is clear for a mile.
Sunday, March 18:
Bearings taken on this day were: From point 4.8 miles south of the highway on the Nopal Ranch Road, bearing to brightest light on left is south 40 degrees west before declination correction. Old hanger bears north 22 degrees east from this point before correction. Bearing to Chinati Peak is south 50 degrees west uncorrected.
NOTE ADDED TO ABOVE REFERENCE ON OCTOBER 26, 1978
Wright and Kenney discussed setting up triangulation stations along the Nopal Ranch Road to determine the distance to the lights which can be seen almost every night, but they were transferred to other areas and this was not done. They did, however, set up one survey station by the Nopal Ranch Road one and one-half miles south of Highway 90 with reflector stakes in a line pointing at Chinati Peak. These stakes could be seen at night with a spotlight shining on the reflectors. It was determined that the unexplained lights are not on the big Chinati Mountain and the direction to the area where the lights are usually seen is south of Chinati Mountain. There is one small light on top of a radio tower on Chinati Peak, but it can be seen from the Nopal Ranch Road only on clear nights and with the aid of a telescope.
I certify that the foregoing statements and observations are true and that the "close" sighting was recorded independently by both Kenney and Wright within one hour of the sighting.
Pat Kenney, Jr.
March 15, 1979
Above report submitted by: Dale Kaczmarek, c/o Ghost Research Society, PO Box 205, Oaklawn, Il., 60454-0205, (312)425-5163.